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July, 2013

Microsoft Research Connections Blog

The Microsoft Research Connections blog shares stories of collaborations with computer scientists at academic and scientific institutions to advance technical innovations in computing, as well as related events, scholarships, and fellowships.

July, 2013

  • Microsoft Research Connections Blog

    Join us in exploring the future of computing—virtually!

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    Computing has changed the world—from online shopping, to social media, to big data analyses of, well, just about everything. The rate of computing-driven change continues unabated, and we find ourselves wondering: what are the hot trends and burning issues in computer science research today? On July 15 and 16, 400 elite academic investigators will explore these questions with Microsoft researchers during the annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in Redmond, Washington.

    Watch the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit live and online, July 15, 2013, 09:00–17:30 PT

    But you don’t have to be in Redmond to benefit from this outstanding event. Selected keynotes and engaging, informative interviews with top researchers will be broadcast live from the Microsoft Conference Center and Microsoft Studios. You can view the live, streaming broadcasts on July 15 from 09:00 to 17:30 Pacific Time (12:00 to 20:30 Eastern Time) on the Virtual Event page.

    Every year, the Faculty Summit invites a renowned speaker to deliver the opening keynote. This year, for the first time since 2005, we’re delighted to present Microsoft Corporation Chairman Bill Gates as the keynote speaker. He will address the role of computing in solving global problems and then take questions from the in-person audience and our online viewers. We will rebroadcast his keynote later in the day, but be sure to view it live at 09:00 (Pacific Time) if you have a must-ask question for this leader in computing and philanthropy.

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    Introducing the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2013

    After the keynote, watch the insightful discussions about trends in software engineering and quantum computing, as well as developments in combatting Internet fraud, refining prediction engines, and using social media during crises. You can also learn how software is reducing the cost of genome research and putting cancer cures within reach. All our live interviews will allow you to submit your questions and comments through an interactive tool in the viewer.

    So mark your calendar, dust off your monitor, or wipe clean your touchscreen—the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2013 is one webcast you won’t want to miss.

    Stewart Tansley, Co-Chair, Microsoft Faculty Summit 2013, and Director, Microsoft Research Connections

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    The future of computing

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    It is becoming increasingly apparent to us all that computers are everywhere, even in our cell phones, and can help us accomplish many tasks from finding information on the Internet to analyzing large genomic data sets. This morning, Bill Gates will address how computing contributes to improving our world as he kicks off the 2013 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit. His topic reminds me of how much our conception of the role of computing has changed since the days of mainframe computers.

    The world has always needed outstanding young thinkers who possess deep theoretical understanding combined with curiosity, drive, and energy. Today’s technical opportunities and demands only increase that need. 

    The future of computer science is here. A new generation of researchers is ready to innovate world-changing technologies.

    One of the highlights of the Faculty Summit is the introduction of the latest Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows. This year, we present seven new faculty members, bringing the total to 60 Faculty Fellowships awarded since 2005. The fellowship provides them with the freedom to focus on their research courageously early in their careers. The Faculty Fellowships are just one of many programs of grants, fellowships, and internships that we offer worldwide.

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    Every year, I look forward to welcoming researchers to Microsoft’s Redmond campus for the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, which seeks to bring academia and Microsoft Research together to assess the state of the art and exchange a broad range of ideas across disciplinary and technology boundaries. Some 2,500 academics and scientists from more than 500 universities have participated in the Faculty Summits in Redmond since 2000.

    This year, more than 650 distinguished researchers will convene to explore a host of issues that the computing community is seeking to address through technology, such as finding cures for cancer, providing assistance during natural disasters, or predicting political events that can upend stability. Knowing that a physical event can’t scale to accommodate the growing interest in this event, we have added virtual programming for the broader audience. It includes the live broadcast of Bill Gates’ session and shares key content from the summit program through fast-paced Research in Focus interviews. Visit microsoftfacultysummit.com to watch it live and online July 15, 09:00–17:30 Pacific Time.

    Watch the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit live and online, July 15, 2013, 9:00-17:30 PT

    I am certain you will gain insights and value through your virtual attendance at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, so I encourage you to watch the live stream. You’ll not only hear from (and have the opportunity to question) leading researchers, you’ll also be able to learn about the opportunities to engage with us in the quest to improve the world through technical innovation.

    —Harold Javid, General Chair, Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2013

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    Inspiring girls about computing

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    Participants in Girls Gather for Computer Science learn about TouchDevelop from Microsoft Senior Research Program Manager Arjmand Samuel.Today, women earn more than half of all undergraduate degrees in U.S. colleges and universities. But according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), female students remain woefully underrepresented in computer science programs, earning only 18 percent of the undergraduate computer science degrees awarded in 2011. And among that year’s incoming freshman, a mere 0.3 per cent of the women—that’s right, just three-tenths of a percent—named computer science as their intended major!

    In large measure, the shortage of women who are studying computer science at the post-secondary level is the result of insufficient exposure to computing during their K-12 schooling. It is vital to introduce girls to the wonders of computing before they’ve formed an adolescent aversion to the field, viewing it as “a boy thing.”

    That’s why I’m so pleased that Microsoft Research played a major role in this summer’s Girls Gather for Computer Science (G2CS) camp, a four-week summer day camp for middle-school girls. Sponsored by the Pacific University of Oregon, the camp exposes seventh- and eighth-grade girls to computing through hands-on activities, socializing, and field trips to see women working in such high-tech fields as software development, digital media design, and biotechnology.

    Microsoft researcher Jessica Miller explains to Girls Gather for Computer Science campers how to make dynamic images by using BLINK Cliplets.On Thursday, June 27, Microsoft Research Connections hosted 44 campers and their chaperones. Microsoft researchers gave generously of their time, presenting some seriously cool talks on topics that ranged from phones in space, to programing by using TouchDevelop, to making dynamic images via Cliplets, and even wearing your thoughts on your clothes through the Printing Dress. The Xbox folks also got in on the action, showing the girls how games are tested for usability.

    The girls came away enthused and determined to delve deeper into computing and information science, while the experience revitalized our commitment at Microsoft Research to encourage women to pursue computer science careers. After all, how can we afford not to tap into the creativity and intellectual energy of half of our population?

    —Lori Ada Kilty, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Research Connections

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